Tag Archives: telemedicine

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Stat Doctors Hires 3 Executives to Support Expansion

Stat Doctors™, a leading eHealth solution providing 24/7/365 access to affordable quality care, added three senior-level executives to its growing staff to keep pace with the demand for convenient, high-quality telemedicine.

· Dyan Bymark joins as vice president of marketing. She is responsible for planning and executing marketing plans to achieve growth targets. A veteran marketer with more than 20 years of experience in health care and professional services, Bymark has held management and leadership roles with high-profile companies including Thomson West, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Kronos Optimal Health Company, CIGNA Healthcare and ScriptSave.
· John Wilson joins as vice president of sales. He is responsible for recruiting, training and leading a national sales team as the company implements an aggressive growth plan. Wilson brings 25 years of business development and sales leadership experience from his roles at global organizations including KPMG, Marsh, Mercer and UnitedHealthcare where he recently served as vice president of key accounts Arizona, sales and account management.
· Pamela Gould joins as vice president of payor sales. She is responsible for cultivating business development opportunities with regional payors throughout the country. A Registered Nurse with an extensive clinical background, Gould brings more than 20 years of experience in business development and sales, most recently serving as vice president of sales for Integra.

“We made incredible strides in the eHealth industry in just a few years, emerging as a national leader. These new executives have the skills, experience and passion to help us grow even further and meet the demand for Stat Doctors around the country,” said Dr. Alan C. Roga, M.D., F.A.C.E.P., founder and CEO of Stat Doctors. “In addition to deep expertise in their disciplines, they each have the vision needed to support Stat Doctors’ growth while maintaining our quality and integrity.”

Stat Doctors is available as an additional health benefit through employer-provided health insurance coverage and group plans. With an average wait time of six minutes, patients can be treated for minor illnesses and common medical conditions online and over the phone, 24/7/365.

The American Telemedicine Association estimates more than 10 million Americans directly benefited from telemedicine over the past year, and this number is expected to more than double by 2016. Additionally, a survey from global analytics firm Towers Watson says 37 percent of midsize and large employers anticipate offering telemedicine services in 2015 as a low-cost alternative to face-to-face visits for nonemergency issues.

“More companies and insurance carriers are adopting eHealth solutions to not only save money, but provide patients with increased convenience and quality care,” Dr. Roga added. “At Stat Doctors, we strive to continue our efforts to pioneer the way virtual health care is delivered, offering high-quality eVisits that replicate the traditional patient-doctor relationship, yet at a much more affordable rate.”

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Banner Health teams up with Summit Healthcare

Summit Healthcare announced they have entered into a collaboration agreement with Banner Health to provide continuing care to the patients who are seen at Summit Healthcare but need a higher level of care that Summit Healthcare may not be able to provide.

Across the country, healthcare facilities are joining forces to create large networks of healthcare providers and transitioning to accountable care organizations, focused on increased collaboration.

Summit Healthcare identifies Banner Health as a preferred provider for a higher level of specialty care and telemedicine health care services. Banner Health provides patients in the White Mountain communities immediate access to a tele-psychiatrist or tele-neurologist through a real time video conferencing unit located at Summit Healthcare’s Emergency Department.

“This collaboration is an example of how healthcare organizations can work together to provide quality healthcare services that one facility may not have available to our communities,” says Ron McArthur, CEO of Summit Healthcare, “ultimately the residents of our communities benefit when resources are used to expand rather than duplicate services.”

Banner Health is Arizona’s second largest private employer operating 16 hospitals in the state (Casa Grande Regional Medical Center will become part of Banner on June 9), as well as in health centers and clinics and other related services. “Summit Healthcare provides outstanding care to its community and we’re very pleased and honored to collaborate as their partner to provide broader access through expanded services in the area,” said Banner’s Arizona East Region President Becky Kuhn. “We look forward to continued discussions about further opportunities for collaboration in support of Summit Healthcare’s mission to serve residents of and visitors to the White Mountain community,” Kuhn stated.

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GlobalMed Joins Alliance for Connected Care

Representatives of member companies unanimously approved GlobalMed® for membership in the Alliance for Connected Care, a 501(c)(6) organization, on March 20th. Former U.S. Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle and Trent Lott and former senior Senator John Breaux officially launched the Alliance in February. Members are leading health care and technology companies from across the healthcare spectrum, representing insurers, retail pharmacies, telehealth platform providers, telecommunications companies and health care entrepreneurs.

The goal of the Alliance is to create a regulatory environment in which every medical provider in America is permitted to deliver safe, high quality care using telehealth technology at his or her discretion, and be compensated at a consistent rate, regardless of care delivery location or technological delivery method.

“Healthcare is at a critical juncture,” said GlobalMed CEO Joel E. Barthelemy. “I believe we all want a healthcare system that utilizes proven, secure technologies in the delivery of care to minimize unwanted outcomes and high costs.”

Medical licenses vary by state, and some prohibit physicians from treating patients or prescribing medicine without an in-person visit. The Alliance believes it can achieve its goal of improving access to health care through legislation that removes geographic and site limitations and enables patients to communicate with their providers, regardless of location. It also wants to ensure the appropriate reimbursement of providers for connected care.

“The Alliance for Connected Care is spot on,” Barthelemy noted. “These are the disincentives that have discouraged the widespread use of technologies for remote care that other countries around the world have already embraced.”

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Stat Doctors gets $3.5M investment

QuadMed, a nationally recognized provider of onsite, near site and shared site employer-sponsored health and wellness solutions, has entered into a strategic partnership with Stat Health Services, provider of Scottsdale-based Stat Doctors™ eHealth solution, to provide 24/7 telemedicine access for patients with minor acute healthcare needs. Under the agreement, QuadMed purchased a minority ownership interest in the company.

QuadMed’s partnership with Stat Health Services, a pioneer in virtual house call services, provides employers with an additional healthcare solution proven to dramatically reduce the cost of claims and create positive health outcomes. Through Stat Doctors, minor acute care needs are handled online by on-call emergency medicine providers. Patients receive personal treatment from the convenience of their computer or mobile device without needing to travel to a hospital emergency room or an urgent care center, avoiding waiting times and substantial expenses.

“QuadMed continues to lead the evolution of healthcare at this transformative time in the healthcare industry,” said Joel Quadracci, Chairman, President & CEO of Quad/Graphics, QuadMed’s parent company. “Stat Doctors is an innovative approach to acute healthcare delivery that complements QuadMed’s continuum of healthcare solutions focused on improving the quality of patient care and outcomes while reducing overall costs. This investment expands healthcare management solutions for employers who, like us, want to keep employees and their dependents healthy and productive.”

The QuadMed/Stat Health Services partnership signifies a pivotal shift in healthcare delivery, according to Dr. Alan Roga, M.D., Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Stat Health Services. “Stat Doctors is helping QuadMed replicate the traditional doctor-patient experience anytime, anywhere,” he said. “We are very excited to collaborate with QuadMed, which shares our vision for improving access to quality care in a convenient and cost-effective manner.”

Stat Doctors offers patients a network of the nation’s top emergency medicine specialists through its partnership with Emergency Medicine Physicians (EMP), a network of highly qualified emergency medical providers dedicated to delivering exceptional care. “We are excited to partner with QuadMed through Stat Doctors in the transformation of healthcare by providing highest quality care in a convenient, low-cost alternative to the current options,” said Dominic Bagnoli, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of EMP.

“As a pioneer in the use of telemedicine through our Corporate Health Suites solution, we have discovered that it’s not just the technology that’s important, but also the physician network,” said Tim Dickman, President of QuadMed. “The doctor-patient relationship is key to providing effective care and positive outcomes. Stat Doctors facilitates this important relationship using state-of-the-art telemedicine.”

For more information about how QuadMed and Stat Doctors are innovating healthcare delivery, visit www.quadmedical.com and www.statdoctors.com.

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Arizona Telemedicine Sets Standard of Innovation

Investments by state governments in their own state universities can yield large returns and help create new industries.  In Arizona, telemedicine is a good example of a success story.

The Arizona Telemedicine Program’s Telehealth Technology Innovation Accelerator (TTIA) supports the development of telemedicine programs in independent health-care delivery systems throughout Arizona. The Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) operates one of the largest broadband health-care telemedicine service networks in the United States, delivers federally funded distance education and training programs throughout the Southwest and supports clinical studies on innovative health-care delivery systems.

Headquartered at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, the ATP began in 1996, when then-State Representatives Robert “Bob” Burns (R-Glendale) and Lou Ann Preble (R-Tucson) championed the creation of an eight-site telemedicine program.  Ronald S. Weinstein, MD, a pioneer in telemedicine and telepathology, was recruited as its founding director. Since then, the eight-site Arizona Telemedicine Rural Network has grown 20-fold, and now extends to 160 sites in 70 communities.

“Our goal from the start was to use state funding as seed money for something far greater,” said Dr. Weinstein. “Our University of Arizona physician faculty members and basic scientists saw an opportunity to create a new type of federation of telemedicine programs, in which the UA would have multiple roles for an Arizona state-wide consortium of telemedicine programs. These roles now include creating and operating a shared broadband telecommunications network; developing inclusive training programs that address the telemedicine training needs of personnel across the entire health-care industry in Arizona; and promoting telemedicine, telehealth and mobile health (or mHealth).”

Today, a number of nationally recognized telemedicine programs are affiliated with ATP.  Personnel in these programs have received telemedicine training and technical assistance from ATP in Tucson and Phoenix or online.

The Yuma Regional Medical Center (YRMC) in Yuma, Ariz., signed on with ATP in 2006.  Greg Warda, MD, and his YRMC staff now have daily access to pediatric cardiologists led by Daniela Lax, MD, at The University of Arizona Health Network (UAHN) in Tucson. Doctors in YRMC’s 20-bassinet Neonatal Intensive Care Unit have immediate access to UA telecardiologists in Tucson over the Arizona Rural Telemedicine Network. Immediate medical decisions can be made about transferring babies born with life-threatening congenital heart defects to Tucson or Phoenix hospitals with world-class pediatric cardiothoracic surgery specialists on their staffs. Said Dr. Warda, “I can’t say enough about the cardiologists in Tucson. They’ve all been wonderful.”

Each week, the UAHN cardiology group consults on four to five YRMC cases by telemedicine video conferencing and UA cardiologists also spend a day and a half each month in Yuma following up on the babies and children they have diagnosed. ATP engineers are available 24/7 to provide technical support for this pediatric service, which has handled more than 400 expedited cases in the past five years.

Another innovative program—Phoenix-based Banner Health’s eICU (electronic intensive care unit) program, one of the largest in the nation—utilizes clinical decision support systems (CDSS), computerized diagnostic aids that automate continual analysis of patient vital signs and provide electronic access to electronic health records, lab results, medications, medical imaging and other patient data. The CDSS alerts care teams to adverse trends as well as to acute events. Spotting adverse trends in a patient’s status is challenging in any care environment due to factors such as caring for multiple patients simultaneously and routine shift changes, but is critical to preventing adverse outcomes. The CDSS allows remote intensivists (physicians who specialize in the care and treatment of patients in intensive care units) and bedside care teams to focus their efforts on the patients who need them the most.

Banner’s eICU enterprise is built around a CDSS developed by faculty in the Department of Anesthesia at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md., and is led by Deborah Dahl, vice president for patient care innovation and director of telemedicine at Banner. Currently, 430 eICU rooms at 20 Banner hospitals are equipped with a fixed two-way audio-video system linked to a call center in Mesa, Ariz., from which intensivists remotely monitor patients. In addition to providing the Banner Health “teleteam” video access, the system continuously gathers data from the bedside monitors and each patient’s electronic medical record. A single intensivist can follow hundreds of patients a day by telemedicine. The eICU system saves Banner Health tens of millions of dollars a year. It improves patient care, results in discharging patients earlier and lowers 30-day readmission rates.

Another ATP teaching affiliate, the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix/Scottsdale, has a network of rural telestroke sites. Bart M. Demaerschalk, MD, professor of neurology and director of the telestroke and teleneurology programs at the Mayo Clinic, and Ben Bobrow, MD, professor of emergency medicine at the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix created a state-wide rural telestroke and teleneurology program that serves 1,500 patients annually, preventing permanent brain damage and death. Their telestroke network is bringing “golden hour” diagnostic services to patients at Bisbee’s Copper Queen Community Hospital and other rural hospitals in Casa Grande, Cottonwood, Flagstaff, Globe, Kingman, Parker, Show Low, Tuba City and Yuma. (The “Golden Hour” for neurology patients is the one-to-three hours after stroke symptoms first appear, when the majority of strokes may be averted by intravenous thrombolytic therapy.)

The “granddaddy” of telemedicine services in Arizona is teleradiology, the most commonly used telemedicine application in the United States. Faculty in the UA Department of Medical Imaging (formerly Department of Radiology) pioneered the development of digital radiology, the foundational technology for teleradiology. Today, teleradiology services like those developed at the UA a decade ago are offered by hundreds of teleradiology companies in the United States. Since 1998, UA radiologists have diagnosed more than 1.3 million radiology cases for patients in 25 communities in Arizona and adjacent states.

“Today a number of our outstanding telemedicine programs, owned by different health-care organizations, work together on telemedicine challenges ranging from legal and regulatory issues to telecommunications challenges to reimbursement issues of mutual concern,” said Dr. Weinstein. The ATP is proud of the fact that “the Arizona State Legislature had a strong sense of ownership of the ATP at the time of its creation 17 years ago, and is engaged in these activities of ATP more than ever today.”

Dr. Weinstein noted, “Telemedicine is everybody’s business.”

telemedicine - AZ Business Magazine May/June 2012

GlobalMed Named Finalist for Ethics Award

GlobalMed, worldwide leader in real-time healthcare delivery systems, announced it has been chosen as a finalist for the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Business Ethics Award for 2013. This is the first time the company has applied for and been named a finalist for the award, which was established in 2002.

“As a business owner who values highly the community in which I live and work, I am thrilled to be considered a finalist for this award,” stated Joel E. Barthelemy, GlobalMed Founder and Managing Director. “There is no doubt that ethics are vital to running any business successfully. As a leader in our industry, we have an obligation to our customers, our vendors, our employees and to the community at large to conduct ourselves with honesty and integrity in all aspects of our business.”

In February, GlobalMed was announced as one of 15 Arizona companies named as finalists for the award. In April, GlobalMed representatives Brad Schmidt, Director of Global Marketing Development; and Neal Schoenbach, Director of North American Business Development, participated in a video interview to discuss the significance of the nomination.

“For a company where the core is integrity — walking the walk is what we do — it’s just exciting to be a part of it,” said Schoenbach.

GlobalMed develops integrated telemedicine solutions for healthcare providers and corporate health programs that lower costs, increase access, enhance the quality of care and improve patient satisfaction. From a broad array of connected medical devices to patient data workflow systems, GlobalMed’s solutions enable complete patient encounters, from the patient location to the doctor, via the cloud, to anywhere around the world, across a full range of healthcare specialties.

telemedicine - AZ Business Magazine May/June 2012

Telemedicine – The Wave Of The Future

As technology becomes more sophisticated, telemedicine may become more common in the healthcare industry.

Remember on “Star Trek” where people could be teleported? Imagine how valuable it would be to teleport a medical specialist when needed.

Thanks to technology, we are not that far off.

Better mobile technologies and electronic health records have caused the healthcare industry to incorporate more telemedicine into medical care. Jonathan Linkous, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association, defines telemedicine as “the delivery of any healthcare service or transmission of wellness information using telecommunications technology.” Experts say telemedicine has the potential to transform the way medical care is provided and the way medical education is taught.

“Physicians and patients can now interact and share information through video conferencing, online communications and mobile phones,” says Dr. Tami Romano of HealthNation, a Scottsdale-based company that is leading the way in providing affordable healthcare to 75 groups and businesses through telemedicine services. “The access to electronic medical records allows physicians to be more efficient, to share information more easily and provide remote monitoring, to people living in rural areas. It gives patients access to specialists without leaving their homes, and there is more opportunity for in-depth and expanded care with remote diagnosis and follow-up.”

Dr. Ronald Weinstein, who helped create the Arizona Telemedicine Program in 1995, has built a broadband communications network in Arizona that brings clinical services to hundreds of thousands of patients at 160 sites in 50 Arizona communities, including remote towns on Arizona’s Indian reservations and in its state prisons.

Weinstein says the use of telemedicine in medical training will save lives.

“The third leading cause of death in adults in the United States is medical error,” says Weinstein, who was named “Innovator of the Year” by the University of Arizona in March. “We’re working on a new curriculum to train nurses, doctors, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals together.”

Weinstein says that many patient-care deaths stem from failures in communication. In addition to fostering communication among health professionals, using telemedicine as early introduction to medical education will produce citizens capable of making better health decisions. “Health literacy in the general population is critical if we are going to manage our own health,” he says.

In addition to providing a better platform to inform patients and for doctors to communicate, telemedicine is also helping companies’ bottom line in an age of skyrocketing medical costs.

“Employees are able to address healthcare issues for themselves and their families without incurring loss of time from work,” Romano says. “Companies are able to contain costs by structuring health benefits with the combination of a major medical plan and telemedicine services, giving employees coverage for the big things and first line of defense care for wellness,” Romano says. “The cost is less than a PPO and encourages more preventative care.”

While Medicare has been slower to change reimbursement policies to accommodate telemedicine care, private insurers and state Medicaid payers have been more progressive in covering many services, and that’s pushing more doctors and hospitals to provide them.

“The introduction and expansion of telemedicine will continue to enhance the communication between physicians and patients, which will ultimately allow better patient outcomes,” Romano says. “It will also help to contain costs, reduce physician overhead and transition our system from fixing the sick to preventing the sick, which will lead to a healthier population.

5 telemedicine services

  • Specialist referral services typically involves of a specialist assisting a general practitioner in rendering a diagnosis. This may involve a patient “seeing” a specialist over a live, remote consult or the transmission of diagnostic images and/ or video along with patient data to a specialist for viewing later.
  • Patient consultations using telecommunications to provide medical data, which may include audio, still or live images, between a patient and a health professional for use in rendering a diagnosis and treatment plan.
  • Remote patient monitoring uses devices to remotely collect and send data to a monitoring station for interpretation.
  • Medical education provides continuing medical education credits for health professionals and special medical education seminars for targeted groups in remote locations.
  • Consumer medical and health information includes the use of the Internet for consumers to obtain specialized health information and online discussion groups to provide peer-to-peer support.

Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2012

Health Nations Telemedicine

HealthNation Offers Telemedicine Services To Employers

The digital age has redefined our way of living, and HealthNation has found a way so that employee healthcare is redefined, too.

HealthNation, a company based in Arizona, provides telemedicine services to employers and their employees.

As defined by the American Telemedicine Association, telemedicine is the use of electronic communications to exchange medical information to benefit a patient’s health status. This can range from remote patient monitoring to direct patient consultation.

For HealthNation, this means 24-access to doctors via phone, email or video conference, and electronic medical records. According to its spokesperson, Dr. Tami Romano, it also means avoiding the emergency room and urgent care costs, therefore increasing productivity and reducing healthcare costs.

For employers, this means cost-saving bundles and a healthier workforce.

For an average family of four, the expected savings from HealthNation is about $2,200 if they have an additional PPO health plan — $4,700 if they have a high-deductible plan. Romano estimates that there are even more savings when the employee is uninsured after taking into account inpatient, outpatient and other associated costs.

Other benefits of employees are scheduling benefits. Patients have access to medical attention when they need it, and even just as importantly, where they need it. Patients also have access to reduced prices (more than 40 percent) to prescriptions as well as access to naturopathic doctors. Other services include patient advocacy programs to assist those struggling with billing issues and finding facilities and laboratories that are highly cost effective.

HealthNation believes that a combination of all of these benefits will reduce the health risks of employees, increase employee loyalty and productivity, allow for fewer sick days and more days at work.

Romano, however, acknowledges the difficult transition between traditional medicine and telemedicine. She says the biggest transitional period occurs during the adjustment to the mindset that telemedicine, and not any other traditional approach, is now the first line of defense against challenges to health.

“Patients need to be educated on being proactive with their healthcare needs, to use online resources for wellness programs to stay healthy,” Romano says. “When acute illness occurs, access the healthcare system initially using telehealth rather than go into the ER or urgent care. It is more cost effective, convenient and safe. Often times, people just need information, and the comfort of talking with a doctor and the peace of mind go a long way.”

HealthNation believes, however, that this instant, 24-hours/seven-days-a-week access to certified physicians will allow patients a myriad of options and strategies for a more proactive and healthy lifestyle.

For more information on HealthNation and telemedicine, visit HealthNation’s website at healthnation.net.